For some of today’s younger NHL fans, the name Kelly Hrudey to them brings to mind the face of the CBC hockey broadcaster who you can find on your television set during the intermissions of games broadcasted on CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada. For older fans, they remember him as the 5’10” goalie from Edmonton, Alberta, who shared time with the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks throughout 16 NHL seasons.
While playing with the Islanders in ’87, the Islanders and Washington Capitals found themselves in a four-overtime Game 7 thriller known today as the Easter Epic. Hrudey was the man in between the pipes for the Islanders in a game that some didn’t ever think would finish. With the game concluding right before 2 a.m. on Easter morning, a goal from Pat LaFontaine gave Hrudey and the Islanders the win, with Hrudey stopping 73 shots; which still stands as an NHL record today. He worked overtime that night, with the hopes of leading his team to a much needed victory and today he continues to work overtime, only this time he’s doing it for everyone who gives back out of the goodness of their hearts and for those who need the guidance to a better lifestyle.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of many different fundraisers like most people have, but it all began when I was about 12-years old growing up in Edmonton in a community called Elmwood,” mentioned Hrudey. “It really occurred to me just how many people were volunteering and aside from the amount of time that they were giving up, I was blown away by their efforts and they were doing it all for nothing in return, no compensation,” he added.
Although he wasn’t as active as he is now during his NHL career when it came to giving back to the community around him, he has been involved with many different organizations to date including; the Tim Horton’s Children’s Foundation; Easter Seals Alberta; the PREP Program; Let’s Talk Hockey; and the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre. The main reason why he wasn’t as active during his career was only because he had to make sure his focus was on hockey so his head would stay in the game as he understood how blessed he was to be at that level.
“I did stuff during the season as a player but I found it to be very difficult, only because my focus was my number one issue at the time, but I find myself with more of an opportunity now with the time I have so I can do more for the charities,” said Hrudey. “I really commend the guys that can commit the time to it while they’re still playing because it was hard to stay focused on both,” he stated.
One of the organizations that Kelly Hrudey is still, and always has been highly involved with is the AARC (Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre); a non-profit organization that operates a long-term treatment centre for chemically addicted adolescents and their families.
“It’s really hard to watch those kids, I always tear up whenever I go to visit. Dr. Vause and the staff there do a great job there. They save families and they save lives,” affirmed Hrudey.
“It’s really important to stay active within the community because there are so many people that volunteer their time for people without getting anything in return and I wanted to pay back all the people that volunteered for me. I know they don’t get it personally in return, but I want them to know their efforts didn’t go unnoticed,” he concluded.
Although he has been working with CBC, Hrudey still manages to find time for charities and their events. He is very passionate about the AARC as he still attends their morning meetings and helps them out whenever it’s possible. He is the Honorary Chair for Easter Seals Alberta, travels around Canada for the Tim Horton’s Children’s Foundation and their events and plans on hosting his first ever Kelly Hrudey Golf Tournament in Invermere, British Columbia next August. He’s still making his way around North America, making his stops in different buildings throughout the league. Only this time around, Kelly Hrudey has made time for work and the community and is equally focused on both aspects of his life.
To learn more about the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre, visit http://www.aarc.ab.ca/index.php